After having success with their Secret of Mana release outside of Japan, Squaresoft decided to try a different approach with their next action RPG release Secret of Evermore. Anyone that's played Secret of Mana will immediately feel right at home with Secret of Evermore. Since this is an action RPG, you will have to learn effective attack strategies against the various enemies if you're going to have any success against them. While it's certainly no Seiken Densetsu 3, Secret of Evermore ends up being quite a refreshing take on the Secret of Mana gameplay formula and serves up one of the more unique and interesting Squaresoft RPG story lines of the 16-bit generation. Perhaps no one has appropriately loved Secret of Evermore, except for maybe this one game review site called Action Button Dot Net. Also, if you’ve decided to name your main character something profane (you get sixteen letters), the skeleton will refuse to carry you. At the other end of the desert is a mammoth town called Nobilia, with a marketplace that transcends perhaps any location ever represented in videogames. Fetchy quests of the shield-curse-dispelling variety may or may not exist in Final Fantasy because the game needs to mask the brainless hours of repetitive grinding some way. It’s also a migraine and a half to ponder the brainstorming meetings that went into dungeons and combat in this game. Secret of Evermore was a way out: it was an action game, an adventure game, and an RPG all at once. Secret of Evermore could have perhaps left a wide and ugly mark of righteousness on the world by being a little more bombastic.
Reading your article has unearthed a memory from my childhood which I will share with you because I feel it’s extremely relevant to the points you are making. In any case, there was one time, when I was 10, where I played Secret of Mana with a good friend of mine, and it made me acutely aware of a basic psychological difference between Asian kids (I grew up in Asia playing mostly Japanese games) and Americans.
You make some good points about Secret of Evermore refining Mana’s gameplay elements, and you also make alot of generalizations about Japan and how people of a different culture think. In modern terms, Secret of Mana might have gameplay imbalances, but it more than makes up for them with heart.
Boy I wish I could just sit down with a cup of tea and discuss this with you at length… but this forum is the next best thing! You may or may not have noticed how many Japanese game developers are giving up on Japan and making games that they know will sell more in the US or Europe. For the meantime, I will say that Secret of Evermore, whether you like it or not, never second-guesses the player. Fun fact: prior to writing this review, I had considered Psychonauts for this position on the list.
And seriously, as I may have mentioned in comments to the other review, lack of multiplayer=NOT COOL. For core Japanese style entertainment consumers, like myself (despite I being American) secret of evermore fails miserably to capture enough of the core set of emotional values, that encompass the Japanese style, and that are essential to engage in “fun”.
Because I only specialize in the Japanese style of entertainment, I won?t make opinions if the game has any merit in being valuable fun for American style consumers.
What catch my attention is what are you doing in Japan Tim, if you always show a strong American type of entertainment taste. As a side note, this remind me when Tim, in your nex-gen column, you wrote a piece, about how Japanese game studios where evading the need to produce realistic models of players in baseball videogames, by making cartoon style models. At that time I wrote a hate email to you, in which I made the point that Japanese style entertainment consumers actually PREFER the cartoon style Japanese models for baseball games, as I personally certainly prefer them.
Tim thanks for sharing your awesome writing and insight, and all the great comments that surface in this website. You are essentially saying that Japan puts emotion into its works whereas The Rest of the World does not, which is essentially the most baffling statement the internet has ever shouted at me. Anyway, I don’t even pretend that I am a great writer, so perhaps you are right in your complain, negativedge. The point that I was making, is that some people, who tend to prefer Japanese style entertainment, may find this game boring. Now reading this review, perhaps I should have given the game a bit more of opportunity at the time.
The conclusion of all this in this context, is that Japan and American are two big style categories into which games ascribe in different degrees.
And I would love to see a world statistics, of how each of the tendencies gauges regionally.
Shadow of the Colossus isn’t a good parallel to Evermore since Evermore was billed as a spiritual successor to Secret of Mana, a game that truly excelled because of its multiplayer gameplay.
Also, upon further reflection, Shadow of the Colossus could still stir up emotion even if the horse were the second player. I think Monster Hunter is a very fascinating example of a divide that is occurring in Western and Asian tastes.
Well, there is historically a schism between Japanese and Western (not American, mind) design in video games, yes, but walk seemed to be going a little broader than that, striking at some wider cultural expression that seemed rather naive.
True, but I think this brings us to an excellent point: most of the people that seem to hate Evermore seem to love Mana.
I could see how those expectations would sour you on Evermore, but as a responsible adult you should be able to go back and give it the old college try, divorced from such expectations.
A lot of it has to do with the co-op, or lack thereof, as you say, but it seems pretty obvious to me that Evermore would simply be bizarre with co-op. If you meant you wanted “objective criticism” in the literary sense, then again, that’s not something I can give you. I can’t enjoy Secret of Evermore, because its graphics are extremely off putting for me. I find the game ugly becuase it strikes me as a game made by people who are very lacking in their ability to convey visual information. The artist attempts to hide these faults in the drawing with coloring, but the shading adds even more problems. Also, the way the highlights (that is, the brightest parts where the light is falling) are handled is very random. The actual reason the game looks muddy is because almost everything is shaded towards black. The result is a game with a very primitive color palette, where everything is the literal, local color, with no regards to ambient light and all shaded towards black, which reduces the overall chromatic value of each setting, making all of them look dingy. What’s worse is the coloring is rather busy and high contrast (in an attempt to add detail to cover up a faulty framework), which makes it more difficult to distinguish characters from the backdrop.


And it’s not like they are referencing the tradition of generic dragons to give me some new insight on a classic design, so much as they simply didn’t have the imagination to draw the dragon any different way. I could go on and on about things that are lacking in every sprite, but there’s an even greater problem.
Also, I have to note that it’s exceedingly difficult for me to put words to how I feel about pictures.
I’m not intending to change anyone’s mind about this game, and I think it’s fine if you enjoy it. Avis perso : Un Action-RPG avec une bonne duree de vie, de nombreuses enigmes assez torturees. Dans le manoir en ruine du professeur Rouflaquettes, un garcon et son chien decouvrent une machine mysterieuse. While Japanese gamers would get the true sequel to Secret of Mana in the shape of Seiken Densetsu 3, US gamers were treated to what would be the first Squaresoft RPG developed by an American development team. It obviously borrows heavily from almost every aspect of play control found in Mana and even improves upon it in some places.
Boss fights are where you're going to see the most challenge in the game, with a couple of the bosses being downright vicious.
There are tons of different combinations that you'll learn as the game progresses and these will come in really handy for the boss fights and stronger enemies you'll run into later on in the game. The high level of difficulty at times might turn some gamers off, but if you've got the mettle to stick it out, you'll find that the quest is one well worth experiencing.
Children play in the streets, insects scurry in sunlit shop buildings, a crazy old man shouts conspiracy theories, chickens peck at stone, people bustle between market stalls.
The tragedy of the moment, however, is that, in a videogame — in an imaginary world contained inside your TV screen, everything is suspicious by default. Basing everything on the Secret of Mana template was probably a good start, and though they could have just thrown together monster closets and made back their money, they went leaps and bounds further, instead opting to create intelligent monsters who possess vaguely 8-bitty sparring patterns. We might be looking at a different games industry if that had happened, and we probably wouldn’t be including the game on our list of the best twenty-five games of all-time if it had actually been popular.
We appreciate way that the game’s snowglobe representation of world history shows us only prehistoric times, Ancient Rome, the Dark Ages, and the distant future.
The plot was simple, but elegant in its fine tuned way of playing up a child’s feelings.
Even if I don’t agree with you all the time, the discussions here are really really great!
In that sense, secret of evermore becomes as fun as vomiting trough the nose, for many continuous hours.
Despite technology already being available to make the realistic type of characters models.
I always have worried if my excessive work as software engineer could deteriorate my others skills, and that perfectly could be the case. And that all time best games list , take a position in the degree in which it favor each of these two broad tendencies.
It would be silly of me to expect you to sift through every single word you use to make sure it’s the most correct and appropriate word possible.
It’s one of the only sharp shadows in the whole picture, and its very awkwardly positioned.
This is pretty much the most primitive form of shading where if you want to make something look darker, you add black to the color. And while Secret of Evermore wasn't quite as epic in design as Seiken Densetsu 3, the game did feature a distinctly American theme that made it stand out from many of its Japanese counterparts.
You start the game off with a bone as your weapon, but each area in the game holds new and more effective weapons, you just have to locate them, which is sometimes easier said than done. While you do have your dog to help out in battle, he's more for show than anything else, so you'd better make sure you continue to level up and obtain better weapons if you want to last for any significant amount of time in the game. It also forces you to spend a lot of time searching for the ingredients you need to create these magic spells, which adds yet another unique gameplay element to the overall experience.The play control feels quite fluid for the most part and having to wait as your weapon recharges back to full power does bring a great deal of strategy to battles. There will always be RPG fans who resent the fact that gaming audiences outside of Japan received this game instead of the true sequel to Secret of Mana, but those who can get past that will find a very enjoyable action RPG experience that should challenge even the most seasoned fans of the genre.
It is a love letter to the most insipid feature set to ever grace the trade of game design, penned by a gorgeous woman, saying nothing in particular, though capable of making a man quit smoking if he’d just take the time to read it.
From where we stand at this exact moment, it’s only obvious that, as much as the main character in Evermore quotes drop-dead-unfunny non-existent B-movies, the one thing Evermore never is is tacky. Evermore rises above and beyond the call of duty by making some objects genuinely look more suspicious than everything else, without looking so suspicious as to force you to lie down and have a nap. Secret of Mana had allowed players to charge up weapons to eight levels — earning each charge level required the player to kill as many as a hundred monsters with said weapon.
It set its bars at a medium height, and jumped over them so many times it started to feel good. We appreciate that it doesn’t strain to include a fire world, an ice world, a dark world, et cetera.
It should have shown the Japanese entertainmentsmiths that it is possible to make more money. Au cours de sa quete, le garcon devra deployer son adresse avec les armes, maitriser les forces alchimiques et s’allier aux supports puissants afin de combattre les monstres diaboliques de Perpetua.
It also created quite a split among RPG fans upon its release with some loving the game's unique approach and others longing for the true Secret of Mana sequel Japanese gamers were already enjoying. As in Mana, you can swing a weapon, but it must then recharge before you swing it again, at least if you want to do any type of real damage with it.
The game's sudden difficulty bursts can be a bit tricky to deal with at times, but as long as you continue to do battle every chance you get, you should be strong enough to tackle most areas of the game without the need for too much additional grinding. It goes without saying that if you enjoyed Secret of Mana, you'll likely find a lot to like with Secret of Evermore as its very similar in style and presentation, not to mention fun factor. Each formula requires a certain number of ingredients: a couple balls of wax, a drop of oil, a dash of gunpowder. Evermore trims out the fat, gives every weapon three charge levels, with each of the three attacks being something purely optional and radically different in purpose, range, delivery, and tactical usefulness.
The game was the West taking something they knew and liked about Japan, and reinterpreting it.
We appreciate that its many sections, varied and foreign as they feel, possess deep-bleeding visual motifs: the interior of a pyramid looks and feels like both itself and a distinct part of this world where a town is also erected inside a wrecked ship.
Each crunchy thrust of a spear into enemy flesh, each bark or sniff of your trusty can be heard over the air-holes in the ambient wilderness-wandering background music.


After having worked in the Japanese entertainment industry for several years, I have arrived at the conclusion that these people do want more money, that they do want more money today, and that they do want more money in every way. Can you give your dog complex instructions on how to run around and draw attention during a boss fight? So how exactly does the game stack up against the many other great Super Nintendo RPGs available for the console? While the character and enemy animations isn't quite on a level as say a Chrono Trigger, they're still quite a bit better than those found in Secret of Mana.
Far from merely making the marketplace look good, the game designers go one further, and decide to immerse the player in its logistics. He runs at that carrot, and when he finally goes after that boss, he kills him in one round. You can also buy some ingredients in stores; sometimes, the ingredients you get in stores will be readily available in the wild, though sometimes, the ingredients in the wild might plain not exist anywhere else.
Wouldn’t the whole dynamic of having a dog be ruined if it were really your friend, a human being, sitting in the room there next to you?
But lets not talk about design, lets talk about something more substantial like the actual technique in the illustration. Secret of Evermore was trimming away the fat and streamlining the experience of its peers in real-time, which flies fiercely in the face of one of the most ironclad rules of Japanese game development: Never. Evermore is, from its outset, deeply concerned with contextualization of play mechanics and story. The adorable logistical fetishism of the game designers comes fully into view when you realize how alchemy ingredients are acquired: literally anywhere. Contemplating the amount of conscience, thought, and fine-tuning that must have gone into this results in an awesome headache.
Some Greek philosopher said that imitation is the highest form of flattery; well, revision is the highest form of imitation.
Some are absolutely immense in size and all feature some very cool animations to give them that little extra touch of realism.
Japan, however, though they have made a history of imitating and revising the west, simply refuse to revise western revisions of Japanese things. As in most Super Nintendo games, there is the trademark Mode 7 appearance which pops up anytime the air shuttle is involved, but it's nothing that we haven't seen 100 times before in countless other Super Nintendo release. Years later, we get a great man (term used loosely) like Hironobu Sakaguchi plopping out a game like Lost Odyssey, with high aspirations, shining production values, and bankrupt game design. This kind of thinking yielded splatter-painting masterpieces like Megaman, with razor-sharp play mechanics, iconic visuals, and vein-pumping music. I’ve found in my lifetime that these differences in motivation have been consistent between my friends who grew up in the US vs growing in an Asian country (including, but not exclusive to Japan). He makes so many subtle, sophisticated design decisions, and his execution is so idiosyncratic, so tied into his own unique abilities and experiences as an individual that his drawings are entirely pleasant and unique. Overall the rendered visuals give the game a very unique look and feel and are a nice change of pace from the overly vibrant visuals of its predecessor.The soundtrack in Secret of Evermore is unique in the way many of the tracks blend so well into the background of the various areas they're used in. To cut something out of a sequel, or a game that aspires to be better than an established game, is quite simply to make less of a game as far as the critics or money-holders are concerned. On the one hand, we have actual literature; on the other hand, we have sixteen-hit combos, accessories that teach party members new abilities, and the option to fiddle with the triggers to as to close a circle on the enemy as your character goes through his attack motion for the twelve-thousandth time.
Eventually, we’re in the ancient-Roman kind of world, with cliffs and Mediterranean vistas and caves and temples. Sakaguchi plays Gears of War, marvels at the togetherness, the unity of the (admittedly meatheaded) storytelling and the weight of the action.
Those games were miraculous occurrences: a group of people somehow firing, independently and constantly, on more than all cylinders. At times you won't even really hear much in the way of music, and even when you do it's in such an ambient way that you won't really notice it much, yet it almost perfectly sets the mood for the area it's currently playing in. In the interests of history, we have gone back to this game, breathed very deeply, and dove in: not only does it hold up, it holds all the way up.
When “The Matrix” was a worldwide smash hit, did it change the way the Japanese thought about their own animation? For instance in the prehistoric area, you'll hear the faint tribal drums in the background and occasionally some rustling brush or animal noises.
Getting the first one-of-a-kind item might require a half an hour of researching what several-of-a-kind items will yield the most of another, more useful several-of-a-kind item in a trade. Eventually, Naughty Dog would make Jak II, with elements of racing, platform action, skateboarding, car-hijacking, flying, and shooting, and the reviewers would marvel at the heterogeneous ingeniousness of it. Of course not; one would be justified in suspecting that Japan took a weird degree of offense, and decided to separate themselves, in shame, from the subject matter that the Americans had Done Better. It's quite unique the way the composer was able to capture the mood for the various areas of the game without having the music stick out so much as is so common in many other RPGs of the era.
You can cross the desert on foot, or you can offer a specific precious item to a skeleton in a rowboat in exchange for a quick trip across the sand.
Bosses all require some strategy that exists in your head just seconds before its pieces become visible in the game. Meanwhile, all these years ago, there was Secret of Evermore, hand up in the back of the class, squirming with enthusiasm, and there was the teacher, thinking that the big-headed buffoon just needed to go to the toilet again. The door happens to lead the bewildered boy to an escape pod that crashes to the surface of a prehistoric jungle. The boy regroups with his dog, now transformed from a little yappy mutt to a broad-shouldered wolf-like animal-contraption. Eventually, walking (or running) across the desert comes to feel really hopeless and kind of depressing. The average Final Fantasy player never uses those Elixirs; they stack them up, like trophies. Though unlike trophies, they are not anything hard-won — they are received, through brainless (and usually fruitless) repetition of one rarely reinforced obsessive behavior.
In Final Fantasy VI, for example, we have to equip the Cursed Shield for 255 battles, suffering a plague of status ailments, before the curse is lifted, so that, finally, we can fight more battles with no disadvantages. On the one hand, you just did a bunch of work; on the other hand, all you get for it is the sight of dirt.



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